The Academic Lecture. A Genre In Between

Bo Lindberg


This article provides some observations on the production and function of academic lecture notes in the early modern period at the universities of Uppsala and Lund int the 17th century. Books being relatively scarce, students aquired most of their knowledge by listening to lectures or by reading notes taken during the lectures. Compared to dissertations, i.e. the printed texts defended in a disputation, the lecture notes were usually better accounts of knowledge, but their contents may deviate substantially from what the lecturer originally said due to the modifications and distortions caused by those who took the notes or those who copied the them. Further, the mode of lectur­ ing – dictation versus a freer extemporizing delivery – affected the form of the manuscripts as well. A pair of  manuscripts from the teaching of Samuel Pufendorf in the early 1670s are here used to illustrate the difficulty to deter mine the authentic­ ity of extant manuscripts and how they originated.

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